Ag Briefs: WI milk production creeps upward

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin State Briefs


WI milk production creeps upward

Milk production in Wisconsin during February 2023 totaled 2.45 billion pounds, up slightly from the previousFebruary according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. Theaverage number of milk cows during February, at 1.27 million head, was unchanged from last month but down3,000 from February 2022. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,925 pounds, up 10 pounds from lastFebruary.


USDA to gather data about farm labor

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct its biannual Agricultural Labor Survey in April. The survey will collect information about hired labor from more than 300 Wisconsin farmers. NASS will publish the data May 24 in the Farm Labor report available on the NASS website at Survey recipients who do not respond by April 19 may be contacted by NASS to arrange an interview.

In the survey, NASS asks producers to answer a variety of questions about hired farm labor on their operations, including total number of hired farm workers, total hours worked, and total wages paid for the weeks of Jan. 8-14 and April 9-15, 2023. Survey recipients can respond online at or by mail.


California braces for potential crop losses from flooding

California farmers are facing another round of flooding, with fields still bearing fresh scars from January’s flood event. An area known for the production of fresh berries, as well as leafy greens, is bracing for the worst, and officials expect the March flooding to spread over more acres than January, Farm Journal reported.

The Monterey County Ag Commissioner’s office conducted an assessment of the January floods, which projected the flood waters covered 20,000 acres in Monterey County, which is home to the Salinas Valley. The losses were pegged at $330 million, and that was at a time when the majority of the spring crops hadn’t been planted yet.


Wisconsin FB launches Gather Wisconsin website

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation unveiled its new website project, Gather Wisconsin, during the Ag LEAD Summit in Fond du Lac. The focus of Gather Wisconsin is to build meaningful relationships between consumers and the farmers growing and raising their food. The site connects food, farming and families through valuable information, insightful blogs and delicious recipes.

Information housed on the site falls into three main categories: farming, food and family. The site will house information from a variety of contributors including Wisconsin ag commodity groups. Gather Wisconsin is now available at


PDPW announces new board members, auction results

The 2023 Professional Dairy Producers announced newly elected board members during its annual Business Conference March 15-16 at Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Newly elected 2023-24 board members are: Patty Dolph, Dolph Dairy LLC, Lake Mills; JJ Pagel, Pagels Ponderosa Dairy LLC, Kewaunee; and Laura Raatz, Wagner Farms, Oconto Falls, Wis.

The group also announced it raised $18,970 during a silent auction at the event. Funds raised through the auction and Plant a Seed campaign directly support the creation of new and sustainable dairy leadership resources and educational programs. 


Hub-funded research featured at the State Capitol on April 19

The Dairy Innovation Hub will host an informational research poster session at the State Capitol to highlight select projects funded by the initiative at UW-Madison, UW-Platteville, and UW-River Falls. Attendees are invited to browse 10 research posters and engage with students and faculty affiliated with Hub-funded projects. Legislators, staff and the public are encouraged to participate.

The event will take place on the first-floor rotunda from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Wed.,, April 19. On the same day, a group of farmers and dairy professionals will be in the building for legislative discussions and visits as part of Dairy Day at the Capitol, coordinated by Dairy Business Association.


Women researchers to lead conservation educator conference

Wisconsin Women in Conservation (WiWiC) celebrated Women’s History Month by announcing that pioneering researchers Jean Eells and Rebecca Christoffel will headline the upcoming WiWiC Educator Network Conference on April 28 in Stevens Point. The conference theme is “Lighting the Fire with Women Landowners” and the day-long, non-traditional event will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Sentry World Atrium, 601 Michigan Ave. N, Stevens Point. Space is limited and registration is open now at under Events. 


DeLaval invests in its automatic milking facility

DeLaval plans to increase its production capacity of automatic milking machines to meet rising customer demand.Automatic milking continues to grow across the world. At the same time, DeLaval has seen a positive customer response to the DeLaval VM V300-series of automatic milking robots. For these two reasons, DeLaval is making an investment to increase its production capacity of automatic milking systems by 50%.

To meet demand, the VMS production facility in Sweden will increase its efficiency by using optimized and automated flows.


African land snails found in luggage at airport

Six giant African land snails were found in the luggage of a traveler who flew to Michigan from the west African country of Ghana. U.S. Customs and Border Protection says that the mollusks, which can carry diseases that affect humans, were discovered and seized March 9 during an agriculture inspection at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus.

The man transporting the snails is a resident of Ghana and said they were to be eaten. The snails are prohibited in Michigan and the rest of the United States. They eat at least 500 different types of plants, along with plaster and stucco. They grow as long as 8 inches and carry a parasite that can cause meningitis in humans.


Farmer sentiment dips in February

The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer dipped 5 points to a reading of 125 in February. Farmers’ perspectives regarding both current conditions on their farms and their expectations for the future also weakened. The Index of Current Conditions fell 2 points to 134 and the Index of Future Expectations declined 6 points to 121.

Increased concern over the risk of falling output prices, rising interest rates, and uncertainty over the future growth of U.S. agricultural exports is weighing on producers’ minds. The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted between Feb. 13-17.


Tyson Foods axes jobs

Tyson Foods could shed more than 1,600 jobs as the US meat major plans to shut two poultry facilities. Scheduled for 12 May, the closures affect the company’s Glen Allen plant in Henrico County, Virginia, and the Van Buren site in the county of the same name in Arkansas. The factories employ 692 and 969 workers, respectively Just Foods reported.

Officials said current scale and inability to economically improve operations has led to the difficult decision to close the facilities

In both cases, Tyson Foods said it planned to “shift demand” to other facilities and will work with employees “to help ensure they have the option to apply for open positions and relocation assistance where applicable” to alternative plants.


Almond hull feed trial to reduce methane emissions in dairy cows

Olam Food Ingredients will soon start a trial that will see almond hulls and shells repurposed into a nutritious feed source for dairy cows in New Zealand. Using this by-product of almond processing has the potential to help reduce both methane emissions and input costs on farms, according to Dairy Global.

According to Paul Johnson, general manager of milk supply for OFI New Zealand, almond hulls are a proven source of nutrition for dairy cows. The feed will be supplemented with Agolin Ruminant, which has the potential benefit of reducing methane emissions and increasing the feed conversion rate, which in turn will support milk yields.